Poor visibility in the snowstorm; a trailer sits in the distance while flags and trees blow aggressively in the wind
Poor visibility in the snowstorm; a trailer sits in the distance while flags and trees blow aggressively in the wind
Christmas tree grower Milt Agate has worked in the Christmas tree business since 1990, but said this year will be his last.His 34-acre farm in Ilderton, about 30 minutes northwest of London, Ont., has been a staple for Christmas tree shoppers. For decades, families have been visiting to pick out their tree and enjoy a warm cup of hot cider and cookies.For the past several years, he has seen a decline in sales. To his surprise, demand was high this year — which caused the sales to skyrocket."It's been such a weird year, people are just itching to decorate," Agate said. "Families want to get together and this is what is bringing them together."Now, people are also expecting a lot more from "just a traditional Christmas tree farm", he said."They want the wagon rides, they want the petting zoo, the Christmas knickknacks."Agate said he simply cannot afford that, considering the amount of land, manpower and money he would need to operate. It's pushing him to leave the market."When you start adding the experience part of it, you've got to start looking at manpower," he said. "Which I don't have."Trees at the farm are marked down and selling for $35 apiece, as he is looking to close for good and needs everything to go. With the growing demand, Agate said he should have considered marking them up instead.The past weekend was a busy one, and most of the supply is gone."A lot of people are wanting to come out and get their trees before December," he said.Agate says he has even been receiving calls from people in Toronto wanting to make the drive down to pick up a tree but has to turn them away as he halted wagon rides and other activities due to COVID-19. This year, no wagon rides, hot cider or cookies are offered because of that reason.As a farmer, Agate said one of the biggest issues for him is mother nature.In the early 2000s the farm experienced two years of drought, which made Agate lose 25 per cent of his crop, he said.Another issue is the time it takes to grow the trees.Agate said it can take up to 10 years to grow a Christmas tree in "ideal conditions", making it impossible for farmers to increase their supply with this sudden surge that is largely being driven by the pandemic.Less travel, more customers"People are wanting to get out, wanting to get trees. They're staying home for Christmas as opposed to traveling — and so we are seeing the numbers on an increase," said Shirley Brennan, executive director of the Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario.Farms across the province have experienced tree shortages for the past couple of years, she said, but demand this year has increased substantially.Brennan told CBC London that COVID-19 increased the demand for trees in particular this season because of the isolation many have felt this year and a desire to get into the holiday spirit.She said the association has seen a 25 per cent increase in sales across the board.The tree with the highest demand is the fraser fir which Brennan says "everyone goes for" and is in short supply.> It's not even about the size or the species this year, [people] just want the experience. \- Shirley Brennan, Christmas Tree Farmers of Ontario executive directorShe said younger generation couples in particular who have recently bought their homes are embracing this tradition as a way of bringing together their families during a trying time."This is just one more thing that adds to the family dynamics. Having that real Christmas tree and having that experience, people are really, really embracing that this year," Brennan said.However, Brennan said the Christmas tree industry is steadily increasing each year."Our industry across Canada went from a $53 million industry to a $100 million industry since 2015, so it has been steadily increasing over the years," Brennan said. "And because it takes 10 years to grow a tree, we just can't put more trees in the ground for next year and so it was just a forecast that we couldn't even speculate was going to happen."She said it's "alarming" that a number of farms have already sold out of the trees they had available for this year."I have spoken to farm owners who have said it has been a record-breaking year," she said. "But it's not even about the size or the species this year, [people] just want the experience."
In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kick-start your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Dec. 2 ... What we are watching in Canada ... The Manitoba government has signed a pay agreement that will allow nurses to be shifted to priority areas in the fight against COVID-19. It says the agreement with the Manitoba Nurses Union will allow nurses to be redeployed in personal care homes, intensive care units and designated COVID-19 units. Health Minister Cameron Friesen says it will allow for changes to work assignments, locations, schedules and shifts to support the changing needs of hospital patients and care home residents. He says nurses affected by these changes, including those already working in facilities dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks, will get extra pay. The agreement also establishes a COVID-19 northern allowance for staff redeployed to the north, as well as an allowance for current northern nurses who work in one community but pick up additional shifts elsewhere in the region. Union president Darlene Jackson says the deal will help keep nurses on the job and give them some security and recognition. --- Also this ... Nunavut's two-week lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 is to end today as the territory continues to see a drop in new cases. Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut's chief public health officer, said earlier this week that schools, businesses and workplaces could reopen. Restrictions are to lift in all communities except Arviat, which has 76 active cases and will remain shut down for at least two more weeks. Patterson says that's because his team hasn't determined if community transmission there is ongoing. Nunavut had 93 active infections and 89 recovered cases on Tuesday for a total of 182. The territory had not had any cases at all until early November. --- What we are watching in the U.S. ... Disputing U.S. President Donald Trump’s persistent, baseless claims, Attorney General William Barr declared the U.S. Justice Department has uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that could change the outcome of the 2020 election. Barr's comments, in an interview Tuesday with the The Associated Press, contradict the concerted effort by Trump, his boss, to subvert the results of last month's voting and block president-elect Joe Biden from taking his place in the White House. Barr told the AP that U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” The comments, which drew immediate criticism from Trump attorneys, were especially notable coming from Barr, who has been one of the president's most ardent allies. Before the election, he had repeatedly raised the notion that mail-in voting could be especially vulnerable to fraud during the coronavirus pandemic as Americans feared going to polls and instead chose to vote by mail. More to Trump's liking, Barr revealed in the AP interview that in October he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel, giving the prosecutor the authority to continue to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe after Biden takes over and making it difficult to fire him. Biden hasn't said what he might do with the investigation, and his transition team didn't comment Tuesday. --- What we are watching in the rest of the world ... Pfizer and BioNTech say they've won permission Wednesday for emergency use of their COVID-19 vaccine in Britain, the world’s first coronavirus shot that’s backed by rigorous science -- and a major step toward eventually ending the pandemic. The move makes Britain one of the first countries to begin vaccinating its population as it tries to curb Europe’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak. Other countries aren’t far behind: The U.S. and the European Union also are vetting the Pfizer shot along with a similar vaccine made by competitor Moderna Inc. Pfizer said it would immediately begin shipping limited supplies to the U.K. -- and has been gearing up for even wider distribution if given a similar nod by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a decision expected as early as next week. But doses everywhere are scarce, and initial supplies will be rationed until more is manufactured in the first several months of next year. --- On this day in 2006 ... Liberal delegates chose Quebec MP Stephane Dion as their new federal leader at a Montreal convention. --- Holiday news ... The Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association says people planning to buy a live Christmas tree this season should start shopping now and expect to pay more. Farmers anticipate 2020 will be a record sales year. Association head Larry Downey says it's simple supply and demand: a shortage of trees coupled with a greater appetite from people hoping to liven up their living spaces amid widespread stay-at-home orders. “Personally, we don’t see COVID affecting us,” says Downey, whose family farm in Hatley, Que. sells up to 30,000 Christmas trees each year. Most wholesale farmers Downey has spoken this year with have already reached sales records, he adds, with much of the demand coming from vendors in the United States. Retailers typically place their orders for trees as early as June, Downey says. The Christmas tree market is still feeling the effects of the Great Recession, which put many U.S. growers out of business and led others to reduce planting. Since saplings take eight to 10 years to reach the size of a typical Christmas tree, the effects of the lower supply have only recently emerged. In entertainment ... Experts believe the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies such as Netflix will go up under a taxation plan the government wants to put in place next year, Ottawa says in its fiscal update released Monday it will require multinationals to collect GST or HST on digital products and services, which it said would add up to $1.2 billion over five years. Sometimes labelled a "Netflix tax," the measure would also apply to other services such as Amazon.com Inc.'s Prime Video or the Spotify audio streaming service, as well as digital products such as software applications. The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales, so it's only fair that foreign multinationals should do the same. KPMG tax partner Joe Micallef says it's likely Canadians will end up paying the taxes collected for the government by foreign multinationals. "Right now, the way in which they're delivering their services, they're not responsible for the collection," Micallef says. "And so, effectively, it would mean that these charges would be appearing on (their) invoices." Dwayne Winseck, a media industry researcher at Carleton University in Ottawa, also expects companies will add the price of the tax to the total sale price. --- ICYMI ... The Oscar-nominated Canadian star of the film "Juno" has come out as transgender. The Halifax-raised Elliot Page, formerly known as Ellen Page, has made the announcement in a powerful post on social media. The star of the Toronto-shot Netflix series "The Umbrella Academy" says his preferred pronouns are he/they. Page's letter thanks those who have supported him along the journey, and addresses the trauma trans people face from discrimination, hateful acts, and a lack of rights. He says it feels remarkable "to finally love" who he is enough to pursue his "authentic self." And he's been "endlessly inspired by so many in the trans community." "Thank you for your courage, your generosity and ceaselessly working to make this world a more inclusive and compassionate place. I will offer whatever support I can and continue to strive for a more loving and equal society," Page says.. "I also ask for patience. My joy is real, but it is also fragile. The truth is, despite feeling profoundly happy right now and knowing how much privilege I carry, I am also scared. I'm scared of the invasiveness, the hate, the 'jokes' and of violence." --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2020 The Canadian Press
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences moved the 73rd Academy Awards ceremony to April 25, 2021, so that theaters would be open again in the spring, which will allow more films to compete in the awards, the report said. "The Oscars in-person telecast will happen," Variety https://variety.com/2020/film/news/oscars-in-person-show-will-happen-2021-1234843255 reported on Tuesday, citing a representative from the Academy. The Academy Awards are traditionally held at the 3,400-seater Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.
It only took two days after its launch for the chess drama The Queen's Gambit to make it into Netflix's top 10 most-viewed series — and it hasn't budged since.It has since become the streaming giant's biggest scripted limited series to date, but the show's popularity isn't confined to the screen. Chess enthusiasts believe it's bringing more people to the game and making it more accessible to a group that, historically, has been largely shut out of it — women."After the series came out on Netflix, you could feel the buzz around the club," said Steve Sklenka, president of the Calgary Chess Club. Though COVID-19 restrictions have forced the club's physical location to temporarily close, that hasn't stopped the inquiries. "We have [people] buying memberships online even though we're closed."According to Sklenka, the interest is the most he's seen since 1972, when American chess champion Bobby Fischer played Russian grandmaster Boris Spassky in a match that became a worldwide sensation. Now, Sklenka is fielding daily calls and emails from people asking when the club will reopen. Sklenka isn't the only one to notice a resurgence in interest. According to marketing firm NPD Group, U.S. sales of chess sets rose by 87 per cent in the weeks following the show's debut in late October, while chess book sales jumped more than 600 per cent. An executive at a major U.S. games company told NPR their sales jumped 1,000 per cent as fans around the world connected with the series."It is an international show with an international cast that is dealing with one of the more universal, quote unquote, sports or pastimes or hobbies," said Daniel Feinberg, a TV critic for Hollywood Reporter.WATCH | 'I've made older boys cry' — chess stars on the world of The Queen's Gambit:While chess is played around the world, Feinberg argued other potential pastimes — like football, baseball or hockey — wouldn't connect with international audiences quite as successfully. "Chess really doesn't know any boundaries, so everybody gets to feel some level of connection and they get to understand it on whatever level they do." Sklenka said the show has had another benefit as well."It's a good thing for chess andit's a good thing for female players," Sklenka said, "because it adds a lot of exposure that just wasn't there before." Show's male players depicted as 'too nice'The Queen's Gambit follows the life of orphan and chess prodigy Beth Harmon (portrayed by Anya Taylor-Joy) as she rises to become the greatest player in the world. In reality, there has never been a female chess world champion, although many have played at an extremely high level.That includes Judit Polgár, a Hungarian player and the sole woman to be ranked among the top 10 players in the world. In 2005, Polgár became the first woman to play for the world championship title. After watching Harmon's journey in The Queen's Gambit, Polgár had one reaction to the depiction of the male players."They were too nice to her," she told the New York Times.Polgár's experience echoes that of Canadian chess champion Qiyu Zhou. The 20-year-old University of Toronto economics and statistics major has been playing chess since she was four and currently holds the title of Woman Grandmaster. Zhou says she has faced male players who don't take her seriously. "I've made older boys cry because I beat them ... and they're like, 'How did I lose to, like, a six-year-old or a five-year-old?'"Growing up in Finland, Zhou played in "open" sections in tournaments, for all genders, as there simply weren't other girls to compete against. Though she was successful — becoming the youngest-ever winner at the Finnish National Chess Championship, at age five — Zhou said the isolation can push younger players away."If I was a really young girl playing chess but there is nobody around me to be friends with me, would I really want to keep playing the game? Not necessarily," she said. "We're all social people, I believe, especially when we're younger — making friends is a really key part."Earlier this year, Zhou signed with the U.S.-based esports organization Counter Logic Gaming after her popularity as a chess streamer grew on the video game streaming platform Twitch.Zhou said she continues to face sexism in the chess world. She frequently gets online comments about how she dresses or acts — comments she said would not be levelled at male counterparts. WATCH | The Queen's Gambit trailer:"I guess people just have an opinion of what a female chess player should be like, and they really want to push that on girls," Zhou said.'Most of the top streamers are male'Andrea Botez, another Canadian chess streamer, said that even now, gender is often an "obstacle" for women. "Most of the top streamers are male, and if there are females ... there's always people saying you only get attention because you're attractive, not because you're good at the game," Botez said.Like Polgár, Botez believes The Queen's Gambit "toned down" the sexism in the chess world, but said it has also strengthened the sport. Its popularity on Netflix and social media isn't just bringing more people to chess, she said — it's bringing younger people. "The most important audience is the teen audience," Botez said. "They're watching Netflix. On social media, it's very popular on TikTok and stuff. And I think that's very important for the growth [of] chess."For Zhou, the question of why The Queen's Gambit has drawn so much attention has an easy answer. "There's always been an intrigue about chess… but it always takes a little bit of pop culture and mainstream media to push it to that point where everybody is like, 'We can actually play this game, and have a lot of fun playing it,'" she said."I'm not fully surprised, but I've always thought that chess is, you know, an art, a science and a sport, all in one."
Le 1er décembre fut la 33 journée mondiale de lutte contre le sida, et l’organisme MAINS BSL a voulu souligner en cette journée qu’il est toujours possible de mettre fin à l’épidémie de VIH/sida d’ici 2030, du moment où l’ensemble de la société se mobilise à cette fin, tout comme elle le fait pour enrayer la pandémie de COVID-19. Même si cette pandémie mondiale a exposé de multiples failles dans notre société et a été connue comme source d’isolement, de détresse et même de stigmatisation, elle est également le moteur d’une mobilisation sans pareil. Le combat contre le nouveau coronavirus est devenu logiquement le leitmotiv de l’ensemble de la société québécoise. Pour appuyer cela, MAINS BSL fait référence aux points de presse journaliers du gouvernement, aux sommes d’argent investies pour enrayer la contagion, soigner les personnes infectées et créer un potentiel vaccin, et à la réponse positive de la majorité de la population aux mesures restrictives imposées. À cela, l’organisme MAINS BSL ne peut s’empêcher de tracer des parallèles entre la pandémie de COVID-19 et celle du VIH/sida. Les iniquités mises en lumière par la pandémie de COVID-19 sont aussi celles que le milieu VIH combat depuis des décennies : lutte contre les iniquités qu’engendrent le sexisme, l’hétérosexisme, la pauvreté et le racisme – ces iniquités qui, dans le contexte du VIH, fragilisent l’accès au dépistage, aux soins et aux traitements. La mobilisation a été forte dans les premières décennies de la lutte contre le VIH/sida, et elle a permis de grandes avancées scientifiques et sociales. Malheureusement, cette mobilisation s’est effritée avec le temps, selon les dires de MAINS BSL, faisant en sorte que, dans les pays occidentaux, un plateau a été atteint où le taux annuel de nouvelles infections stagne. Voilà pourquoi en cette journée de lutte contre le sida, MAINS BSL a invité les gouvernements de tous les paliers à se remobiliser et à réinvestir adéquatement dans la lutte, dans l’idée d’y mettre fin d’ici 2030. « En ces temps de COVID-19, nous voyons très bien que la mobilisation et l’investissement en temps et en ressources humaines et financières dans la lutte contre une pandémie portent fruit », ont-ils expliqué. Il serait donc important d’y assurer les ressources nécessaires pour garantir un accès universel au dépistage, aux soins et aux traitements.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
It's not going to be a very merry Christmas this year for a handicraft workshop in Islamist-run Gaza that has been an unlikely source of gifts for the holiday. Coronavirus lockdowns have made it difficult for the Zeina Cooperative Association to export its hand-crafted Christmas gifts from Gaza to Europe and to the Palestinian town of Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. About 24 Palestinian Muslim women, many of them veiled, work at the facility, making miniature Christmas trees, red-and-white puppets and Santa Claus marionettes.
While 80-year-old Ron Rudoski and his 74-year-old wife Sandra have fans of all ages, their polkas, waltzes, and country tunes are particularly popular with an older crowd.Last year, the Rudoskis played nearly 60 shows. The couple have been playing together for more than 30 years and travelled all over southern Saskatchewan sharing their blend of accordion/guitar medleys guaranteed to keep your toes tapping. The couple would frequently play seniors centres and casino shows, and they developed a following of dedicated dancers. "I remember playing six nights in seven days and 75 per cent of the people were the same people every night, and most of these people are seniors," said Ron. Like so many things in the world, those dances came to a screeching halt when the pandemic hit in March. But unlike many musicians who turned to online shows or small, backyard concerts, their fans make up a segment of the population considered at higher risk for COVID-19. "It really wasn't the way we wanted to retire. We wanted to have a big gathering, you know, kind of a goodbye thing, and this just ended out of nowhere," said Sandra. > Some of them we have lost already, and it's really sad to think that maybe when we go back to playing, a lot of them will be gone. \- Sandra Rudoski Their dancers have become dear friends over the years. Sandra said she checks in with them by phone and she worries about what this isolation is doing to these once very active people. "It's got to be hard on a lot of them sitting at home. It's physical, it keeps you fit. Sometimes Ron plays his accordion and I just dance around the island for something to do. It makes me happy, music makes you happy, you know."Remembering happier timesRon's love of the accordion started when he was just a boy. He's been playing accordion for 66 years and he learned young that he liked performing in front of a crowd.His dad played fiddle in a band and used to tease him when his musical career started picking up steam. Back in the '60s, his band would charge $125 dollars for a dance. "Dad used to play for two dollars a night and he said he had to pay for lunch out of that as well," Ron said with a laugh. In the '80s, Ron was looking for a guitar player and singer for his band. He hired Sandra and ended up falling in love with more than just her voice. Sandra smiles when she talks about their courtship. "My father was German and he loved accordion music, and when I met Ron, to my dad's delight, every time we got together it was play accordion, play accordion."They started out playing in bars, but when Ron brought out his accordion, opportunities opened up. They were soon in high demand for anniversaries, weddings and cabarets.Melville and area was a hotspot for polka music, producing some of the best accordion players in Western Canada. The many German, Ukrainian, Slovenian, Polish, and Czechoslovakian descendents in the area made sure that their shows were always well attended, especially the annual Oktoberfest celebration. Ron is one of the few people left on the prairies who can repair accordions, so people from all over Canada send him their instruments. He has thousands of parts for accordions that he's collected in the more than 50 years of repairing the instruments.Ron says he'd like to pass on this skill and all his equipment to someone younger, so right now he is on the hunt for a young accordion player who wants to learn the craft. Lack of inspiration in isolationNot knowing when or if ever they'll be able to play in public again has been hard on the couple. Ron is also the treasurer of the local seniors hall and he wonders when they eventually do open again, if people will come back to the dances. "Some of them we have lost already, and it's really sad to think that maybe when we go back to playing, a lot of them will be gone," adds Sandra. The couple can play three dances without ever repeating a song, but they haven't learned anything since the pandemic started. "I have hardly touched my guitar since we quit playing," Sandra said. "I guess there's no incentive, but I guess I shouldn't think that way. I guess you should hope that there is hope."That hope includes looking forward to a day when they can end their long career on their own terms, surrounded safely by the people whose friendships have been forged over decades of performing. To hear the audio as it appeared on CBC's Morning Edition click here:CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
Halifax has awarded a $288-million tender to Harbour City Resources to build and operate a new composting facility over 25 years.The new plant will replace the two aging systems operating in Burnside and Goodwood."It will be a state-of-the-art facility, with advanced screening and odour mitigation," said Andrew Philopoulus, HRM's manager of solid waste. "It will incorporate what's known as an airlock on all shipping doors."The new plant will be constructed at the current Goodwood site and will be able to deal with 60,000 tonnes of organic waste a year. Harbour City Resources has built and operated facilities in Calgary, Hamilton and Guelph, Ont.The new system will increase Halifax's annual composting costs by 17.5 per cent or $2.2 million.Coun. Tim Outhit said he hopes a brand new plant will mean grass clippings will be allowed back into the green carts."We will be able to look at some program changes knowing that they can be accommodated in the new facility," said Outhit. "That's encouraging."Coun. Patty Cuttell, who represents Goodwood, is worried about the increased truck traffic on Prospect Road."This is also the road to Peggys Cove," said Cuttell. "So could a road be put through the Ragged Lake industrial park?"Cuttell plans to ask for a staff report to consider community compensation for the Goodwood area since it will be the host for the municipality's composting operation for another 25 years.MORE TOP STORIES
It was inevitable that the federal government's handling of COVID-19 vaccines would become political. Politics has shaped public perceptions of the pandemic's severity since it began.But now the vaccines themselves are becoming politically polarized, with divisions emerging between those who want them and those who don't.Since the spring, polls have shown consistently that one of the major factors associated with how Canadians view the pandemic is how they vote. Supporters of the Liberals and New Democrats have been more likely to report concerns about the public health risks of COVID-19, while Conservative voters have been more likely to eschew precautions and oppose restrictions.Polling conducted by a number of firms in November — as cases across the country continued to rise — still showed signs of this split between left and right in Canada.The latest survey by Léger for the Association of Canadian Studies suggests that only 12 per cent of Liberal voters want to ease pandemic restrictions as soon as possible — even if another wave is possible early in the new year — while 31 per cent of Conservative voters say they want governments to ease up.The poll also found that 52 per cent of Conservative voters are very or somewhat afraid of contracting COVID-19, compared to 66 per cent of New Democratic voters and 74 per cent of Liberal supporters.A recent poll by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) found that between 87 and 89 per cent of Canadians who voted for the Liberals, NDP or Bloc Québécois in last year's election report regularly wearing masks indoors; 71 per cent of Canadians who voted for the Conservatives reported doing the same.WATCH | Erin O'Toole vs. Trudeau on vaccine planAnd Liberal, NDP and Bloc voters were about twice as likely as Conservative supporters to list COVID-19 as one of their top three issues of concern.When asked how governments should prioritize their responses to the pandemic, Conservatives were about twice as likely as Liberals to tell a recent survey for Abacus Data that there has been "too little emphasis on limiting the impact on jobs, income and the economy" — and more than three times as likely to say there has been "too much emphasis on limiting the health risk."We've seen proof of these political attitudes in how Canadians voted in October's provincial elections in Saskatchewan and British Columbia. The New Democrats (the main left-of-centre party in both provinces) did significantly better among voters who cast ballots by mail — and avoided crowds by doing so — than among those who voted in person. Right-of-centre parties in both provinces did much better in the in-person voting.The polarization of immunizationSince attention has turned to vaccines, the Conservatives in Ottawa have focused their attacks on the federal government's plan to acquire and distribute the vaccines in this country. Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole has claimed that Canada will be "near the back of the line," though vaccines are expected to start arriving in early 2021.But this week's Léger poll suggests a minority of Canadians share O'Toole's concern. While the poll suggests 37 per cent of Canadians are worried Canada might not get the vaccine at the same time as the United States and the United Kingdom — where the vaccines are produced — 48 per cent said they are "not that concerned" and feel "a few months won't make much of a difference."It's hard not to see partisanship behind some of this, as the Léger poll suggests Conservative voters are the ones most likely to be concerned about delays — and the ones least likely to say they would take the first vaccine made available to the public.This is in part because many Canadians harbour doubts about potential COVID-19 vaccines.A recent Ipsos/Global News poll suggested that 71 per cent of Canadians feel nervous about a vaccine being created and approved so quickly. A similar share of those surveyed said they are concerned about long-term side-effects.On average, polls conducted by Abacus, ARI and Léger suggest only 34 per cent of Canadians would get immunized as soon as possible, while 41 per cent said they would wait a little before getting the needle. Between 11 and 15 per cent of those polled said they would not get vaccinated at all.Conservatives more likely to wait or avoid vaccinationThere is certainly a level of distrust among Conservative voters specific to the Trudeau government. According to Léger, about half of Conservative voters believe that the current federal government is withholding information about vaccines. Only 15 per cent of Liberal voters feel the same way.This trust (or lack of it) could have an impact on Canadians' willingness to get vaccinated. In the ARI, Abacus and Léger surveys, an average of just 27 per cent of Conservative voters said they would get vaccinated as soon as possible, compared to 43 per cent of Liberals and 39 per cent of New Democrats.WATCH | Procurement minister says government is 'putting the puzzle' together for vaccine distributionAn average of 84 per cent of Liberal voters and 79 per cent of New Democrats said they would get vaccinated either right away or eventually, compared to 69 per cent of Conservatives. The number who said they won't get vaccinated averaged just five per cent of the sample among Liberal supporters and nine per cent among New Democrats, but rises to 19 per cent among Conservative voters.The potential public health risk of this polarization could be mitigated if the federal government revealed a detailed plan for the acquisition and distribution of vaccines. Statements of support for such a plan from conservative premiers — some of whom have echoed O'Toole's attacks recently — also could help to reduce this partisan split before vaccine doses start arriving.Will that happen? The answer might depend on how much partisanship is running through Canadians' veins right now.
Mike Goodyear knew what he was getting into when he first plugged his Tesla Model S into the charger at his Grand Falls-Windsor home three years ago.Newfoundland and Labrador was "the last holdout" for high-speed chargers, he told CBC News recently — but that was fine with him."I understood that going in, and that was part of the thing that I accepted," he said.Goodyear has no regrets — "it's been absolutely delightful" owning an electric car, he said, adding it costs him about $8 for the journey from his driveway to St. John's. That may be a bargain and emissions-free, but with only a few places to charge his car along that route, it requires a lot of patience: a charging stop in Clarenville takes upwards of three hours, Goodyear says.But the province's distinct status as the only one in Canada without public high-speed electric vehicle chargers is ending.Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro is installing 14 Level 3 charging stations along the Trans-Canada Highway from Port aux Basques to St. John's, plus one in Rocky Harbour. The chargers were tendered in October 2019, and as each charger is completed and tested, it will come online. NL Hydro expects all the work to be done by the end of this year."We want to be an enabler, to enable EV adoption in the province," said Jennifer Williams, the president of NL Hydro. Williams herself bought an electric vehicle this past summer."We believe the electric vehicles are coming, and we want to be ready for when those vehicle comes, so we're planning the system and getting ourselves ready," she told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.Williams estimates there are 200 electric vehicles in Newfoundland and Labrador, and 90 per cent of those are charged at home. But she said research suggests the lack of a charging network is a major impediment to increasing sales.Welcoming EVs from elsewhereEach station will have one Level 2 charger and one Level 3. The Level 3 chargers will cost $15 per hour, similar to chargers in the Maritimes, and can bill by the minute. Goodyear estimates they will shave hours off his St. John's trips, with a 20-minute stop enough of a boost to make it to the city. The network will make it far easier to sway people who have so far been on the fence about EVs, he said, particularly in rural areas that require longer trips."I know lots of people in the area who said, 'Oh, I wouldn't mind having an electric car, but I can't take it and drive to St. John's, I just don't have the range,'" he said.> Twenty years from now, you'll be hard-pressed to find a gasoline-powered car on the road. \- Mike GoodyearGoodyear has offered up his own home charger, even listing it on public charging apps, to EV drivers across the province, as well as tourists in need. He predicts the new network will attract even more people in search of a scenic, all-electric drive, across the island after the COVID-19 pandemic."This is for a very large community, and it'll open the island up to a lot of visitors from the mainland, that's another big thing. When our pandemic has come to an end, you'll see a lot more people coming and staying," he said.Network set to expandThose tourists might soon get a chance to explore further afield than the TCH.On the heels of the current network construction, NL Hydro and Newfoundland Power is also looking to install 19 other charging stations in Newfoundland communities from Robinsons to Roddickton to Port Rexton, and three in Labrador, with applications currently being accepted for most of them."We're certainly keeping an eye on where else we can expand," said Williams.Those extra stations are expected to be built by late 2021, depending on funding; the $2.1-million cost of the existing charging network is being split by the provincial and federal governments, along with NL Hydro.For Goodyear and many other drivers, the more chargers, the better to reduce range anxiety: the very real response EV owners have trying to stretch their batteries to make it to the next charge.That's usually not an issue for Goodyear, who does most of his driving around town. He's always had an eye on the future — he named his Tesla Galileo, after a Star Trek spaceship — and as he as idles in the drive-thru and sees exhaust pouring out of every other car, he can't help think of those younger than him."You know, all the driving I've done — I've just tipped over 91,000 kilometres in my car — and the car itself hasn't produced any noxious gases toward my kids and grandkids," he said.Quebec announced last week it would ban the sale of gas-powered vehicles in 2035. Goodyear would like to see more incentives in this province, as he's certain such change will soon come east."Right now you're hard-pressed to see an electric vehicle on the road. Twenty years from now, you'll be hard-pressed to find a gasoline-powered car on the road," he said.Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam have been sentenced to jail on charges related to an unauthorized anti-government protest last year at the city’s police headquarters. Wong, who pleaded guilty to organizing and participating in the protest, received 13 1/2 months behind bars. Chow, who also pleaded guilty to participating in the protest and inciting others to take part, received 10 months, while Lam received 7 months after pleading guilty to incitement. The protest took place on June 21 last year, and saw thousands surround the police headquarters as they demonstrated against excessive force by police against protesters, as well as a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to mainland China.Zen Soo, The Associated Press
Imagine watching your brain activity on a computer screen in real time.For Gord Luke, a Wawa, Ont., resident with Parkinson's disease, that's now a reality. Sitting in a room at the Krembil Brain Institute in Toronto's west end, the 66-year-old can see his brain signals being tracked digitally, thanks to surgically implanted electrodes in his brain and a newly approved device in his chest.Building on decades-old technology known as deep brain stimulation (DBS), which can help control the shakes and muscle tightness tied to brain disorders such as Parkinson's, the device puts a new high-tech tool in physicians' tool kits: the ability to capture brain activity of DBS patients such as Luke around the clock."We can actually stream live from his brain," said Krembil neurologist Dr. Alfonso Fasano.As Fasano fiddles with the laptop, his patient's sturdy frame is still, with the electrode stimulation keeping his symptoms at bay.WATCH | What it's like to live stream you brain:Controlling symptoms in real timeWith a couple of clicks, Fasano tweaks the level of stimulation from the electrode in the right hemisphere of Luke's brain, and he quickly starts shaking — his left foot is tapping up and down involuntarily. With another tweak, his foot is back firmly on the ground.The short-term hope, according to Fasano and his colleague, neurosurgeon Dr. Suneil Kalia, is that patients will be able keep a digital diary of their symptoms, which physicians can match up to the ongoing log of their brain activity. "Physicians can later look at that brain diary to see when symptoms were severe or better and fine-tune their therapy," Kalia said.In Luke's case, Fasano hopes he'll eventually be able to adjust the settings on the device from the comfort of his own home, in consultation with his medical team by phone, from thousands of kilometres away."We can record for days, months, the different signals in the brain," Fasano said. "This will be, like never before, a window into their activities."The personalized treatments that follow could help alleviate symptoms for years on end, according to Fasano and Kalia.Approved by Health Canada in October, the Percept PC deep brain stimulation system was developed by Medtronic, a Dublin-based medical technology company.Working alongside surgically implanted brain electrodes, the small, pacemaker-like device is placed under the skin of a patient's chest, which sends electrical signals through thin wires to a targeted area of the brain and offers real-time recording.Patients with brain disorders such as epilepsy and Parkinson's tend to see symptom improvements once their DBS electrode implants are turned on. With the chest and brain implants working in tandem, physicians can now see exactly what's happening inside their patients' brains when that switch is flipped.WATCH | Using an MRI to monitor a patient's brain activity and responses:Automatic adjustments may one day be possiblePreviously, medical teams could only track those signals during brain surgery, according to Kalia."What this new device allows is whether it's the first day after surgery or even five years after the surgery, we can interrogate the device," he said.Through ongoing research, Fasano says, the technology may lead to "adaptive stimulation" in the longer term, where the device adjusts the level of stimulation automatically.It's a bit like a smart home thermostat. At first, those high-tech temperature controls require a homeowner to adjust the settings manually. Too cold in the morning? Crank up the heat. Too hot by the afternoon? Turn it back down.Over time, as the technology learns someone's patterns and preferences, the thermostat can start making those adjustments on its own — regulating the temperature and keeping people inside the house comfortable automatically.Kalia said that's a lot like how the implants could one day regulate — or even predict and ward off — symptoms, including seizures and tremors. The first three Canadians underwent surgery to install their new smart technology this fall, and there are more to come.WATCH | What the Percept PC deep brain stimulation system allows doctors to do:'Like being with them all the time'Though wary at first of having the procedure, Luke said he jumped at the chance to try the new device in November. His Parkinson's symptoms have worsened over the last six years."Your muscles tighten up, everything shakes, you shuffle more than walk, you're prone to falls," he said. "It really changes your life, big time."Speaking to CBC News outside his downtown Toronto hotel, he said the day before his medical team at Krembil turned on the electrode, he was barely able to walk. Now, much of his shaking and unsteadiness has subsided. Driving a car, spending more time outdoors, and carving wooden animal figurines are all pastimes Luke plans to pursue back home in Wawa. It's not a cure, to be clear. But it offers Luke, who's a 10-hour drive from the Krembil specialists, a way to manage his disease's progression with fewer trips to Toronto and log a treasure trove of data for his medical team at the same time.Fasano says that's a welcome change from the small glimpses of someone's life physicians typically get when patients like Luke visit, which can't possibly capture their day-to-day symptoms and flare-ups. "It will be like being with them all the time," he said.
The City of Toronto's continued operation of homeless shelters with shared sleeping areas defies widespread acknowledgement that COVID-19 can effectively spread via airborne transmission, say health experts and advocates for people experiencing homelessness.There are concerns that shelter users sleeping in those environments face a heightened risk of transmitting or contracting the novel coronavirus."We should be deeply concerned that shelters are still being operated like this," said Zoe Dodd, who works with Toronto's homeless population through the Overdose Prevention Society.Aerosol transmission of COVID-19, in which the virus spreads through microscopic airborne particles, has been acknowledged as a threat by Toronto Public Health.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control notes in its guidelines that aerosols containing the virus can stay afloat for hours, in some cases leading to COVID-19 transmission even when people are more than two metres apart.Jeffrey Seigel, an engineering professor at the University of Toronto, called the prospect of aerosol COVID-19 transmission in homeless shelters "a critical issue" that the city should immediately address.He said similar congregate settings, such as the living quarters of farm workers and some long-term care facilities, indicate that aerosol transmission can be a dangerous driver of COVID-19 outbreaks."A substantial amount of transmission is happening in some spaces because of long range aerosol," Siegel told CBC Toronto.He identified three factors that can increase the risk of transmission when people gather indoors: crowding, the amount of time spent in a location, and ventilation.The environment in congregate homeless shelters, he said, "hits two, maybe three of the high-risk triggers for COVID-19 transmission."City says shelter precautions working well so farToronto has revamped its shelter system since the onset of the pandemic and now offers thousands of private rooms in hotels and motels. However, congregate spaces still make up a significant portion of the more than 6,000 beds offered by the city.As many as 2,874 spaces reserved for individual users are in congregate dorms, the city said, though it did not provide a specific figure.The city has introduced heightened physical distancing measures in those shelters, including a standard of two metres of lateral space between beds, among other precautionary measures.Mary-Anne Bedard, general manager of Toronto's Shelter, Support and Housing Administration, said those changes have contributed to the city's "relative success" at slowing the spread of the virus within its shelter system."While there is a certain amount of aerosol transmission … it is relatively limited," said Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa during a Monday news conference, before adding that close contact between people remains the primary source of transmission.But Siegel said people underestimate the risk of aerosol transmission in a shared, indoor environment. He said particles containing the virus have been demonstrated to travel more than 10 metres in some cases, and that dry winter air can help those particles travel more easily."I have to honestly say that, no, two metres is not enough. I often say that physical distancing indoors is fiction," he said.There have been 659 cases of COVID-19 among shelter users over the course of the pandemic, though it is unclear how many of those infections took place within shelters.Calls for more private rooms, or other mitigating solutionsSiegel said solutions such as increased ventilation, the use of portable air purifiers or germicidal ultraviolet lights could be introduced within shelters to mitigate the risk of transmission.He said those measures could be beneficial even after the COVID-19 pandemic, since infectious respiratory diseases are a long-standing issue within homeless shelters.Dodd and other homeless outreach workers are calling for a more substantial change, and say the city must open at least 2,000 new hotel rooms and stop operating shelters with shared sleeping areas and washrooms.Ginger Dean, an outreach worker with the Encampment Support Network, said a lack of private shelter spaces means people will choose to stay outdoors this winter rather than risk sleeping in a potentially unsafe shelter."Most people aren't interested," she said of the congregate dorms."It sounds harsh, but I feel like it just leaves residents feeling like the city doesn't really care about them."
Ethiopia and the United Nations agreed on Wednesday to channel desperately-needed humanitarian aid to the northern region of Tigray, where a month of war is believed to have killed thousands of combatants and civilians. Federal troops have been battling the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and have captured the regional capital Mekelle, and the pact announced by U.N. officials will allow relief into government-controlled areas of Tigray. The Ethiopian conflict has forced more than 45,000 refugees to flee into Sudan, displaced many more within Tigray and worsened suffering in a region where 600,000 people already depended on food aid even before hostilities broke out on Nov.4.
Several P.E.I. appliance stores are dealing with a shortage of products to sell because COVID-19 is affecting the manufacturers of fridges, stoves, washers and dryers.P.E.I. is adding 55 new front-line positions to schools across the province to support students and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.A program where Islanders share their Christmas traditions with newcomers has moved online.The collapse of the Atlantic bubble has left some Nova Scotia university students in a tough spot ahead of their end-of-semester exams and holiday break.Wednesday night's Santa Claus tour in Charlottetown was postponed to Sunday. Holiday shoppers are receiving their own gift from the City of Charlottetown this December: free parking downtown. The lack of activity at Charlottetown Airport is "surreal," the CEO says.P.E.I. has seen a total of 72 cases, with no deaths and no hospitalizations.Seventeen new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Nova Scotia on Wednesday, bringing its number of active cases to 127.In New Brunswick, six new cases were reported, bringing the total number of active cases in the province to 119.Also in the newsFurther resourcesMore from CBC P.E.I.
Le Bloc québécois a défendu l’adoption du projet de loi C-216 pour la protection de la gestion de l’offre dans les futures négociations commerciales la semaine dernière. Le regroupement politique se réjouit donc d’apprendre que les producteurs concernés seront dédommagés pour les embûches créées par la mise en place des deux derniers accords de libre-échange. Le projet de loi C-216 du Bloc québécois vise à empêcher le gouvernement d’affaiblir la gestion de l’offre lorsqu’il conclut des ententes internationales avec ses partenaires. Et à la suite des pressions répétées des députés pour le versement de l’ensemble des compensations aux producteurs et aux transformateurs sous gestion de l’offre, la députée Michaud se dit soulagée que le gouvernement annonce enfin une partie de l’aide promise. En effet, la ministre Marie-Claude Bibeau a annoncé samedi qu’une certaine forme d’indemnité sera offerte à ces producteurs et transformateurs qui ont grandement été affectés par les brèches faites au système agricole québécois à travers les concessions des trois derniers accords commerciaux. En effet, ils recevront les reste des versements dus en trois ans. Kristina Michaud, qui prend le dossier à cœur, a pu s’entretenir avec le président des producteurs de lait du Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gabriel Belzile, à la suite de l’annonce. « Je représente une circonscription rurale où l’agriculture est extrêmement importante », a-t-elle expliqué. « J’ai rencontré de nombreux producteurs depuis mon élection il y a un peu plus d’un an et je sais à quel point cette nouvelle était attendue. Les producteurs de lait, œufs et volaille pourront enfin obtenir des indemnisations même si aucune compensation ne permettra de rétablir l’équilibre qui avait été acquis. » Mme Michaud renchérit que « c’est un bon pas, mais plusieurs détails restent à venir ». De plus, les transformateurs de l’ensemble des secteurs ont été complètement écartés par l’annonce d’Ottawa, sans compter qu’il n’y a toujours aucune compensation pour l’ACEUM (ancien ALENA). La députée craint que la promesse du gouvernement de n’accorder aucune autre concession dans de futurs accords ne soit encore que des paroles en l’air. « Pour véritablement tenir parole, le gouvernement et tous les partis d’opposition doivent adopter le projet de loi C-216 déposé par le Bloc Québécois. Ce sont des gestes concrets tels que celui-ci qui vont réellement protéger nos producteurs », a ajouté la bloquiste. En attendant, Kristina Michaud et ses collègues persisteront aux côtés des gens du milieu agricole pour qu’ils puissent obtenir « la juste part des compensations qui leur est due et qu’ils ne soient plus tributaires des futures ententes internationales », d’après les dires de la députée fédérale.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
Two executives at a company involved in a failed COVID-19 vaccine partnership with Canada are also involved in a controversial Chinese government recruitment program. Jasmine Pazzano explains.
The European Union criticised Britain's rapid approval of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday, saying its own procedure was more thorough, after Britain became the first western country to endorse a COVID-19 shot. The move to grant emergency authorisation to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been seen by many as a political coup for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has led his country out of the EU and faced criticism for his handling of the pandemic. In an unusually blunt statement, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which is in charge of approving COVID-19 vaccines for the EU, said its longer approval procedure was more appropriate as it was based on more evidence and required more checks than the emergency procedure chosen by Britain.
The Holiday Host volunteer program put on by the P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada (PEIANC) will change to a more virtual format this year.For the past 15 years, the program would match up about 20 host families on P.E.I. with newcomer families. The two families would join together for a meal, seasonal activity or party.It was a way the families could build connections and share during the festive season.PEIANC decided it could be a challenge this year to have two families meet up so they decided to move the seasonal sharing online."I wouldn't say a little different — I would say it is a lot different," said Valerie Fitzpatrick, community connections program co-ordinator with PEIANC.Fitzpatrick said they are looking for people to send in their holiday traditions new and old."It's just a way for people to show a little bit about, you know, what's your Christmas tradition and you get to share it, not just with one family but with the whole world virtually," Fitzpatrick said.She said they will be reaching out to people through the association for other holidays they celebrate and traditions they may have."What new Christmas traditions have they adopted since they have been in Canada or what Christmas traditions or other holiday traditions did they do in their home country that maybe they brought with them."The submitted videos should be between 90 seconds and two minutes. Fitzpatrick said people looking to take part can share the videos with them online or reach out to the co-ordinators.They will also be posting holiday messages from staff on their social media platforms. Fitzpatrick said they wanted to do this to encourage people to still try to connect during the pandemic."We have volunteers that have taken part with a new family every year in the program so we hope that they look at this as an opportunity instead of another one of those things that we can't do because of COVID," Fitzpatrick said."It's something we wouldn't have done otherwise but I think that it is a really neat way to reach out to more people."More from CBC P.E.I.
Nine-year-old Bedahbun 'Bee' Moonias can't bring herself to drink the running water in her Thunder Bay, Ont., hotel room. "Since we can't drink the tap water back in Neskantaga, I'm scared to use the tap water here to drink it," Moonias said. "So I use water bottles."Moonias has spent her whole life worrying about the water flowing from her faucets back home in Neskantaga First Nation, a remote fly-in Ontario community about 450 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.Neskantaga has the longest-duration boil water advisory of any reserve in the country — 25 years and counting."Sometimes, I feel like we don't exist," Moonias said. "Like, nobody knows that we don't have no clean water. Like, we're just ghosts and we're just put in a drawer, in a box."Moonias and nearly 300 other Neskantaga members have been staying at the Victoria Inn Hotel in Thunder Bay since an oily sheen was detected in their reservoir on Oct. 19 and running water was shut off.Before the film was deemed non-toxic, its discovery left residents with a choice: go without water or evacuate during a pandemic. They decided the safest option was to pack their bags.Now, more than 40 days later, the evacuation is taking a toll, but community members say they are determined to maintain some kind of normal life away from home until clean drinking water starts flowing in Neskantaga for the first time this century.At chief and council's request, all the rooms at the Victoria Inn are being rented by the federal government for Neskantaga members to protect them from the COVID-19 pandemic.Inside the hotel's front doors, visitors are screened through temperature checks and questions about symptoms.Elder Laura Sakanee spends her days sitting in her wheelchair, watching people come and go."We miss our home so badly," Sakanee said. "We just left everything in there, even our moose meat. And I filled up my freezer before we left."'Really disruptive' for studentsOne of the hotel's ballrooms has been turned into a classroom for Moonias and another nine-year-old named Jayla Troutlake. One recent afternoon saw them learning to sew Christmas stockings as a cellphone played "O Little Town of Bethlehem."When asked if she is having fun in her new temporary home, Troutlake answered without hesitation: "No."Troutlake said she misses her home and her dog Gizmo, one of roughly 80 dogs left behind in Neskantaga.The dogs are being fed by the Canadian Rangers, who are also gathering wood for the few band members who have agreed to stay behind to keep the houses warm.Troutlake's teacher Miko Oyakawa is tired of hotel living as well. At first, she said, she tried to get her students to pretend they were on a field trip. She would bring in different types of fruits and vegetables they can't get back home."I remember kids looking at peppers and thinking they're plastic," Oyakawa said. "Pomegranate was by far the favourite."But more than a month into this extended field trip, she said, it's becoming harder to stay isolated, both physically and emotionally. So she tries to maintain a sense of normality with daily lessons and activities."For everyone, it's been really disruptive," Oyakawa said."Kids are staying up really late. Families are going out … Some people are just not sending their kids to school, so it's hard that way, but we're trying the best we can"Oyakawa is also making preparations in case they have to spend the holidays at the hotel. She said the Matawa Tribal Council and people in Thunder Bay have reached out already to donate Christmas trees and fill wish lists for the children."All this generosity is so great and touching," she said. "That gives us hope and keeps us going."'You can't leave your homeland'When can Neskantaga's residents go home? Band councillor Gary Quisess said he can't offer an answer. The tentative return date has changed several times. The latest estimate is Dec. 15 at the earliest. Quisess said he is skeptical. Two weeks of water tests must take place before anyone can return. Deficiencies discovered at the water treatment plant have delayed the start of those tests. A report from the Ontario Clean Water Agency last month found numerous problems at the plant, including leaks, mislabelled piping and tags missing from almost all items of equipment.The community is now drafting the terms of reference for a third-party investigation with the federal government of Neskantaga's 25-year-long water crisis, and of the business practices of the contractors, engineers and project management firms that have worked on Neskantaga's water system and those of other First Nations.Chief and council were asked to sign off on a draft version of the terms of reference last month by the Ontario regional director general for Indigenous Services Canada. Those terms of reference were not developed with the community's consent and the regional director general was taken off the community's repatriation file."This investigation is going to open a can of worms," Quisess said."We want Canadians to know the full story. We want Canadians to know how the tax dollars are used."Neskantaga's plant was built in 1993 and has never adequately treated and disinfected water.A long-term drinking water advisory was put in place on Feb. 1, 1995, less than two years after the plant was commissioned. It's been in effect ever since. As part of its fiscal update, released this week, the federal government is proposing to spend $1.5 billion this year and $114.1 million per year afterwards to speed up work on lifting all long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations, and fund water and wastewater infrastructure.But money isn't the issue in Neskantaga. The Liberal government already earmarked $8.8 million to upgrade Neskantaga's water treatment plant in 2016. The work was supposed to be completed by 2018, but the project has run into a cascade of delays and the budget has doubled to more than $16 million.Despite all the problems, Quisess said he doesn't want to live anywhere else. "You can't leave your homeland," Quisess said. "We were born and raised there. Our ancestors lived there."'Trying to celebrate Christmas here'Charla Moonias, walking a support worker's Pomeranian down the hotel hallways, tried to maintain a sense of optimism."It's been really hard to get motivated to come down here because this isn't our normal," she said."I don't feel optimistic about it. I feel like we're going to be here until the new year. I already picture us trying to celebrate Christmas here."Moonias said she spends her days binge-watching TV shows, ordering food and — when she finds the strength — going downstairs to the common rooms to meet with people.Moonias said she used to deal with substance abuse issues herself and it's been a struggle to live at the hotel."It's taking a toll on my depression, my mental health, my addictions," she said. "I'm really struggling to stay away from all the bad influences and bad people."Moonias was born in Winnipeg and started living in Neskantaga after she was adopted by Chief Chris Moonias.In 2016, Moonias met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as part of a youth delegation from Northern Ontario First Nations pressing for clean drinking water in Neskantaga. She said her skin used to break out into blisters after showering with Neskantaga's water.Now, she wonders whether taking the community's case to Trudeau accomplished anything."I went there feeling hopeful … I'm now 23," she said. "Where's the change?"'See how it feels'Bee Moonias is now being raised by her grandparents, who also live without clean tap water."I don't want to go through what my grandpa has been through 25 years ago," Moonias said. "Go live in Neskantaga and see how it feels getting no clean water. You're welcome to sit in my house. Stay in my house."The federal government has said repeatedly it is committed to ensuring Neskantaga has a source of clean running water.But even at the tender age of 9, Moonias doesn't have much faith in Ottawa's promises."I would be shook if they fixed the water really properly," she said.